Michael A. Stecker


Scott Tucker
Tucson, Arizona

Contact information
Locator Map
Level of accuracy: city of Tucson, Arizona, USA

I got into the hobby of astrophotography early enough to have suffered through multiple-hour, manually guided film images.  I do, however, consider myself blessed to have jumped in just before the digital revolution hit and not having to suffer too long!

 My image above shows my favorite aspect of CCD imaging.  I'm taking images from my suburban backyard with the neighbors' lights on and the first quarter moon out.  And with automated sequences of exposures I can watch TV while I image instead of sitting out in the middle of nowhere, freezing and waiting.

 I also consider myself lucky to live in one of the better areas of the world for astronomy and to be part of a large community of astronomers.  That has definitely benefited my imaging.  And I've fully crossed the threshold into spoiled when I consider the fact that I work at a telescope shop (Starizona) and get to play with all the cool toys that come along!

 As if astronomy wasn't an all-consuming hobby, I also enjoy photography, hiking, drawing, running, playing guitar, and my current death-sport of choice is rock climbing.

Astronomy Tales
see: http://www.darkskyimages.com/desert.html

Areas of interest
Primarily deep sky imaging, but I'll try anything.  Lately I've been doing a lot of narrowband imaging using H-alpha, OIII, and SII filters

Astrophotography publications
I've had a four-page spread in a really nice Korean magazine, but I have no idea what they were saying about me!  I also have had images on the cover of Italy's biggest science magazine, so apparently I'm big overseas.  Of course, I'd be more likely to get published in Sky & Telescope if I actually submitted images to them... I should really start doing that.  I've also got a few pictures books by David Levy (cover of Guide to the Night Sky and a picture inside Guide to Observing and Discovering Comets), Ken Graun (Touring the Universe and What's Out Tonight), and Don Machholz (The Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon).

Observing sites
I image a lot from my backyard, especially with narrowband filters that let me image from a moderately light-polluted area.  For dark skies I head south of Tucson where we typically get 6.0-6.5 magnitude skies.  For a real road trip, we travel to the Chiricahua Mountains in far southeastern Arizona.  Elevations of 7000 feet and 100 miles from Tucson yield 7th magnitude skies.  Well worth the drive.  Our latitude in southern AZ is around 32 degrees, so we get decent southern sky coverage.

Astronomical Equipment
Well, I'm the poster child for obsessive-compulsive disorder, so I've got to have a new scope every 6 months.  My favorites have been a Celestron 14" SCT and Astro-Physics 155EDF f/7 refractor.  I also like smaller refractors for wide-field imaging.  My primary mount is an Astro-Physics 900GTO.  I image mostly with an SBIG ST-10XME and I also have a Canon 20D.  Most of my processing is done with MaxIm DL and Adobe Photoshop CS.


back link